Results tagged ‘ Mike Rizzo ’

Nats not expected to make major moves before deadline

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he did not anticipate making any trades or dramatic roster moves upon Bryce Harper’s return, which is expected sometime in July.

“These things usually have a way of taking care of themselves,” Rizzo said.

While the Nationals aren’t expected to make any significant moves, a baseball source said opposing teams are still inquiring about second baseman Danny Espinosa. But, as of now, the Nationals are not interested in trading him. The source said recently the Nationals still believe in Espinosa and predict he will be an All Star one day.

Espinosa is currently playing every day because of injuries to Harper and Ryan Zimmerman. It forced the team to switch Anthony Rendon from second base to third base and Espinosa from the bench to second base.

While Espinosa has been struggling at the plate, he continues to be a wizard with the glove. He has made only four errors in 66 games entering Friday’s action against the Braves. The Nationals are also looking at Espinosa as insurance in case something happened to shortstop Ian Desmond. The source pointed out there is no one on the Major League team or the Minor League system who could replace Desmond for a long period of time other than Espinosa.

While the Nationals are not looking to trade Ross Detwiler, the source said they would listen if there is any interest in the left-hander.

Detwiler hasn’t seen much action as a long reliever and is off to a start, allowing 16 earned runs in 29 innings. The source pointed out that Detwiler’s trade value is low because of the slow start and that he missed most of last season because of back issues.

If teams have interest in Detwiler, it would be as a starter. Detwiler best season came as a starter. In 2012, Detwiler was the fifth starter for Washington, winning 10 games with a respectable 3.40 ERA. Detwiler said recently he still sees himself as a starter.

“That’s where I’m most comfortable. You are able to get a routine down. You know when you are going to pitch,” Detwiler said. “I’m always a good routine person. It changed a little bit — how much you run, how much you lift. Through all that stuff between starts, that’s the biggest difference.”

It’s also looks like Adam LaRoche will be with the Nationals the entire season. There has been talk about putting Ryan Zimmerman at first base. But the source pointed out that LaRoche is not only having a productive season [.297, eight home runs and 35 RBIs entering Friday’s action], he is a good influence in the clubhouse.

LaRoche and the Nationals have a mutual option after this season, but there hasn’t been any talk about an extension, according to LaRoche.

 

Fister enjoying good stretch with all-around play

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — As a junior at Fresno State in 2005, Doug Fister not only pitched, but also started 26 games at first base.

Those days are long gone, but Fister’s inner infielder has never left him completely, and that showed during Thursday’s win over the Phillies.

Fister exhibited the all-around game that Nats general manager Mike Rizzo touted after he acquired him from the Tigers this winter. The right-hander threw seven solid innings to put his ERA at 2.23 over his past five starts, laid down a pair of sacrifice bunts at the plate and also made three difficult plays in the field.

With runners at first and third and one out in the first inning, Fister nearly helped complete an inning-ending double play. When first baseman Adam LaRoche fielded Ryan Howard’s ground ball and threw to second, Fister hustled to cover first, then used his entire 6-foot-8 frame to stretch for the return throw. He wound up catching the ball in a full split position, but the throw was a tiny bit too late.

“It kind of reverts back to playing first base in college,” Fister said. “Again, it’s part of being a pitcher. You’ve got to get over and cover, and it’s just something that comes natural to me, to get out there and stretch.”

Fister wasn’t too impressed with the play, even if it sparked some concern in others.

“I thought he blew out,” LaRoche said. “But he hopped up and was like, ‘No, I’m good,’ like nothing happened. I couldn’t do it.”

“That’s not comfortable,” manager Matt Williams said of watching the play.

For Fister or for him?

“For both,” Williams said. “He’s a good athlete though.

“He could play first base if he had to.”

In the third inning, Fister showed off another part of his skillset, one he said he hones by having someone smack fungos back at him to improve his reaction time.

Speedy leadoff man Ben Revere hit a ground ball to the third base side of the mound as Fister finished his delivery to the first base side. Fister was able to reach back and twist himself around to snare it and make the play. Then in the sixth, he pounced on Revere’s bunt to the first base side of the mound, scooped it up and tossed to first.

“For a guy that tall, he’s got great agility,” Williams said.

Fister would be a desirable pitcher if pitching were all he could do. But the six-year veteran has shown an ability to handle the bat, control the running game and field his position, and last year was a finalist for an American League Gold Glove Award.

“It’s something I take a lot of pride in and spend a lot of work on,” he said.

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Nats select Fedde in first round of Draft

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — The Nationals took a risk on an injured pitcher in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, selecting UNLV right-hander Erick Fedde, who had Tommy John surgery this past Tuesday. One baseball source believes Fedde had the best stuff before he went down with the injury.

Before the surgery, Fedde had a great final season for UNLV, going 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts. He also had 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.

It marks the third consecutive year in which the Nationals have selected a pitcher in the first round of the Draft. The team selected Lucas Giolito and Jake Johansen in 2012 and ’13, respectively.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 12:30p ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1p ET.

The Nationals are known to take a risk on players who are injured. Giolito and third baseman Anthony Rendon are two examples of players who were hurt before they were drafted. Rendon had shoulder and ankle problems before he was taken in 2010, and Giolito tore a ligament in his elbow before he was taken two years later.

Today, Rendon is among the team leaders in runs scored, hits and RBIs, and has a chance to participate in his first All-Star Game. Giolito has recovered from Tommy John surgery and is on an innings limit while pitching for Class A Hagerstown. He recorded a 2.29 ERA in eight starts.

How do the Nats balance the risk/reward when it comes to injured players?

“The upside has to really trump the risk of a player not coming back from an injury,” general manager Mike Rizzo said recently. “We really [consider] elbow injuries a lot more favorable than shoulder injuries. A lot that goes into it is the character of the player, the type of makeup that he has. The rehab process is not an easy one. You have [to have] the right character, right makeup to go through it and to come out the other end better than when you started.”

 

Espinosa expects to win job back, says he shouldn’t have played with broken wrist

By Andrew Simon
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — In talking to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams this winter, Danny Espinosa has come away with one clear message.
“Matt and Mike Rizzo both called me in the offseason and told me I’m going to get a fair opportunity to win my job back, and that’s all I can ask for,” Espinosa said on Saturday at NatsFest. “I’ve never asked for anything to be handed to me. But if I get a fair opportunity to win my job back, I feel like I can do it.”
 
Espinosa began last season the same way he spent the previous two, as the Nats’ everyday second baseman. He finished the injury-marred campaign in Triple-A Syracuse, unable to make it back to Washington to try to lift his .158 batting average, and with his future role in the organization seemingly uncertain.
 
After rookie Anthony Rendon grabbed hold of the second-base job in Espinosa’s stead last season, Espinosa will enter Spring Training with a shot to at least make the club as a utility man. But according to Espinosa, Rizzo has talked to him only about winning back his job, not filling a backup role.
 
Williams indicated Espinosa will have every opportunity to earn playing time.
 
“I just think there’s great potential there. I’m not alone,” Williams said. “There were multiple calls, as I understand it, from teams across baseball this offseason [interested in a trade]. So the Nationals aren’t the only ones who are thinking that. Now, he’s got to put it together and he’s got to play and play well and be effectively, so that’s the objective going in.”
 
Better health figures to play a significant role in Espinosa’s comeback.
 
The 26-year-old spent last offseason unable to lift weights because of a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder that he suffered late the previous year. Then, on April 14, he was hit by a pitch that caused a small fracture in his right wrist. Espinosa played through what originally was diagnosed as a bone bruise and didn’t go on the disabled list until early June. After less than two weeks off, he began a rehab assignment at Syracuse and spent the rest of the season there, hitting only .216 with a .566 OPS in 75 games.
“There was times I couldn’t pick my bat up with one hand,” said Espinosa, who believes his rotator cuff wasn’t a problem. “So my wrist was just in a bad place, and I shouldn’t have been playing on it, but I made the choice to try to play on it.
 
“I shouldn’t have been playing. But at the same time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. So I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. But you’re told you have a bruise, you have to play through a bruise. Everyone plays through bumps and bruises. I’m not gonna play through a broken wrist. If I’d have known it was a broken wrist, I wouldn’t have been playing.”
 
The Nationals and team physician, Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, were not available for comment.
 
Espinosa had worked with a trainer for the past five five years, but this offseason hired him to be his personal trainer. He’s back lifting weights, and his shoulder and wrist both feel good.
 
“I’m probably stronger at this point in my career than I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “My trainer has done an unbelievable job, he’s put me in a really good place. I feel physically I’m at the top of where I could ever be, almost. He’s done everything for me to get back to where I was and get beyond that, strength-wise. So I feel great.”
 
But even if Espinosa comes to camp in great shape and performs well, he may have a tough time winning an everyday job. Rendon, a top prospect, capably handled a shift from third base as a rookie and showed promise with the bat, hitting .265/.329/.396 with 23 doubles and seven home runs in about 400 plate appearances.
 
A utility role could prove to be a good fit for Espinosa, even if he is aiming higher. Williams believes his defense at both second and shortstop is “Gold Glove-caliber” and that he could handle third base as well, while also having 20-home-run power.
 
Williams also said he can empathize with Espinosa, having gone from leading the league in RBIs with the Giants in 1990 to batting .227 in ‘92.
 
“Sometimes it starts going that way, and you can’t stop it, so I understand that,” Williams said. “What got me out of it, or what gets most guys out of it, is the ability to relax and play. That’s what I want him to do. We’re going to get him a lot of reps at short, a lot of reps at second base, he’s gonna get a lot of at-bats and get his stroke feeling good and if he can do all those things, then he’s got a chance to be a really integral part of the team.”

Rizzo on Balfour, backup catching situation

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke to the local media at Saturday’s NatsFest and he acknowledged that the team had interest in reliever Grant Balfour, who recently signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Rays. Rizzo said Balfour wanted to be closer to home .

“We thought there was a value there. I think sleeping in his own bed and being near his home over road what we were trying to get for him,” Rizzo said.

Had the Nationals acquired Balfour, they most likely would have traded reliever Drew Storen, who said he was not bothered by the trade rumors this offseason.

“You don’t take it personally, it part of it. It’s flattering that other teams want you, too,” Storen said.  “You look at it from all angles. [The Nationals] are a great team. Obviously, I don’t want to go anywhere. It’s just part of the business. Nothing new.”

Meanwhile Rizzo hasn’t ruled out acquiring a backup catcher. The Nationals are looking for someone who can fill just in case the starter, Wilson Ramos, misses a lot of time because of injury.

“If a backup catcher fits what we are trying to do and becomes available, we would certainly look into it,” Rizzo said.

The Nationals are looking for a guy who can drive in runs. As of now, Sandy Leon,  Jhonatan Solano,  Chris Snyder  are battling for the backup  role. All were not impressive in the batter’s box last year.

Rizzo’s comments on Storen, Clippard, Nats

General manager Mike Rizzo spoke to the local media Saturday and talked about Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and the Nationals.

On why the Nationals sent Drew Storen to the Minors?

Rizzo:  We felt that he was struggling, struggling with his mechanics, with his tempo with his delivery, with his arm slot, and we felt that we would do him better by letting him go down in a less stressful situation, work on his mechanics, get it fixed and get back up here and help us.

What Storen needs to do to get back to the Major Leagues?:

Rizzo:  I think he needs to … I think it’s a mechanical situation to where he needs to revert back to where he was when we drafted him, where he was in ’11, but mechanically and tempo-wise and arm slot and everything, clear his mind, come back with a fresh, clear mind and be able to help us.

How did Storen take the news?  

Rizzo:  He took it hard like a lot of guys that have established themselves in the big leagues take it. I had a long conversation with him today and it was a very good conversation. I explained to him our rationale for it and that he’s a huge part of this organization and he’s going to be for a long time and just need to get him right. It’s very difficult, especially for a reliever, to tweak your delivery and get your delivery back in sync when you’re in a competitive situation at the big league level trying to win games. We feel that sending him down there, getting him in a less stressful situation, getting him with Spin Williams and Greg Booker, who’ve had him before, had him when he’s been extremely successful, I think it will benefit him.

“I think that he’s performed admirably in ’11, he hurt his arm in ’12 and had surgery. He was slow to recover from that and come back from that, and this year, I think that he was at a point where his arm was finally back to health and his mechanics went away from him. He has to get back to what made him successful – leveraging the baseball downhill, getting movement on his stuff and commanding the baseball much better. To me, the velocity is back to where it was pre-injury, pre-surgery, and now he needs to get back to the deliver, the tempo and the command of the stuff.

Did Rafael Soriano affect Storen mentally?

Rizzo: When you add a player like Rafael Soriano, we felt like we were strengthening a strength. We feel that we had a shutdown back-of-the-game bullpen that would shorten the games for our starters. We felt like that would give us great depth. All the things that we talked about at the beginning of the season. There’s been a lot of closers that started off as set-up guys and the case was we had three guys who had closer’s experience that we felt could finish off games and we felt the back-end of the bullpen was as good as anybody’s.

Please answer the question.  Did it affect Storen mentally?

Rizzo: I don’t see the reason why it should’ve. He’s a mentally-strong person with good stuff and a guy that we’re getting an established closer with a great track record and we felt there was another guy that added depth and power to the end of the bullpen.

What was your reaction to Clippard’s comments?

Rizzo: I talked to Clip also, and we’ve got an open-door policy here. His opinion means a lot to me. I disagree with his assessment of the situation, but you fight to the death to let them speak their mind and say what they want. And that’s what makes these guys what they are on the mound. You’ve got to have a certain type of attitude and makeup to pitch in the latter-end of these games. They’re a competitive bunch, and the one thing I’ve never shied away from is when we have a discussion, we have it man-to-man, eye-to-eye, and I certainly can take his opinion. Like I said, I don’t agree with it, but I commend him for having a strong opinion on it.

Did you decide to send Storen down before the doubleheader?

Rizzo: We made it before. We knew we were going to have to make a roster move after the 26th man and we felt that with his struggles with his delivery and that type of thing, that we were going to give him this opportunity to go back to the minors and figure things out.

Are you looking for a starting pitcher before the deadline?

Rizzo: Well you know we’ve got a lot of trade discussions. We’ve received calls, we’ve made calls. I’m not going to go much more into it than that other than we’re going to do what we do at every trade deadline. We’re going to try to improve this ballclub for 2013 and beyond.

What are the areas of improvement?

Rizzo: You can just press your recorder on this, it’s the same assessment that we’ve had for the last month or so. We feel good about our core players and we feel that we’re solid at our position players, we like our rotation, we like our bullpen arms. If we could tweak or improve certain spots on the bench, I think that would be one place that we would attack. But we’ve got ourselves a pretty talented group of guys that we’re committed to and we like where we’re at.

Is there more weight on next year or this year?

Rizzo: Well we’re going to stay consistent with the same thought process we’ve had since 2009. We’re always worried about this year and beyond. We never make decisions based on the current season alone, so that hasn’t changed since I’ve taken over as GM. We’re always thinking about this year, improving ourselves this year, but when we improve ourselves this year it will be this year and beyond.

On Taylor Jordan’s innings limit

Rizzo: Well, we’ve got parameters in mind for Taylor Jordan and when we feel that he’s done pitching, we’re going to shut him down.

Are you committed to all eight starting position players?

We’ve got a good core of position players, starting rotation and bullpen, and we’re committed to 25 guys right now. We’ve got a good, young core of players and we’re committed to them.

Are you planning any splashy moves?

Rizzo: I still feel the same way. Like I said, things haven’t changed since we spoke on the trade deadline last and things haven’t changed.

Why are the Nationals inconsistent?

Rizzo: We’re in the midst of trying to assess that. I think we still have two months to figure it out and we’ll assess it throughout the rest of the season and come up with a battle plan in the offseason to try and remedy that. We still have a lot of baseball left, and we’re looking forward to that and like I said, I still like this ballclub. I still believe in it.

What is your relationship with Davey Johnson?

Rizzo: I think it’s great. I love Davey and respect him, and I think he feels the same way.

On Ross Ohlendorf in the fifth spot of the rotation.

Rizzo: Yeah, he’s certainly an option for us in the rotation.

What the story on Christian Garcia?

Rizzo: Yeah, he’s rehabbing his hamstring injury.

Is Garcia out for a while?

Rizzo: Well, no. We’re planning on him being able to pitch sometime this year. I don’t know exactly where he’s at with his rehab, but certainly the hamstring set him back because he was just about ready to be activated off the DL.

Is there any chance Davey won’t be the manager by the end of the season?  

Rizzo: There is no chance that he won’t be the manager until the end of the season.

What do you think of Randy Knorr?

Rizzo: Well Randy is a guy that I’ve had great respect for a long time. I think that he’s certainly a manager-caliber, he’s a manager candidate and he has a lot of manager capabilities and we love having him on the staff.

Will Knorr be considered the next manager?

Rizzo: He’s certainly a manager-caliber bench coach at this point.

What are the plans for Jordan in 2014?

Rizzo: Well I think he’s going to get every opportunity to be in the mix for the rotation next year, certainly. He’s pitched extremely well, I like his stuff, I like his demeanor on the mound, he shows poise of a major league pitcher and has the stuff for it.

Are you surprised by what Jordan has done in the big leagues?

Rizzo: No, I’m not surprised at all. We knew what we had with him, that’s why we got his feet wet in some major league spring training games this spring, and he was a guy we liked extremely a lot out of the draft and then of course got sidetracked by that injury.

Rizzo believes Harper, Ramos will help offense

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline coming up on July 31, general manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals’ top priority is getting outfielder Bryce Harper and catcher Wilson Ramos healthy and contributing to the offense, which is one of the lowest scoring in the Major Leagues.

Harper, who is on a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac, is expected to rejoin the Nationals next week against the Brewers. Ramos is close to a rehab assignment, according to manager Davey Johnson.

“We would like to see a big left-handed bat. His name is Harper and he is on the horizon,” Rizzo said.  “And we would like to get a hitting catcher named Ramos. He is on the horizon. And [we really want to] gauge and see what a fully healthy lineup looks like. Two of our main cogs have been out for an extended period. We haven’t had our lineup together since April 14. So we are getting players more and more healthy.

“Hopefully, everyone will be healthy at the same time. We’ll see what the lineup can do when we have all our players playing and everyone is starting to hit on all cylinders — really gauge where we are at.”

With right-hander Dan Haren on the 15-day disabled list, will the Nationals look for another starting pitcher before the deadline? Rizzo said the right-hander has to get healthy first.

“First of all, we have to get him healthy and see where he is at and we’ll evaluate a healthy Dan Haren and make our decision from there,” Rizzo said. “Like any other part of the roster, we want to see him at 100 percent, and I would gauge where we are at from there.”

White Sox’s Dunn happy to be back in Washington

On Tuesday afternoon, White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn was back at Nats Park for the first time since Sept. 29, 2010, when he was a member of the Nationals.

At first glance, Dunn looks comfortable in familiar surroundings, messing with his chewing tobacco and talking to the media about his time with the Nationals. He played for Washington for two years and was one of their best hitters, hitting .264 while averaging 38 home runs and 104 RBIs.

“It’s great to be back. I love the ballpark, I love the city , I love the fans. I have a lot of really good friends on the team, so it’s good to see those guys,” Dunn said. “I loved every single day that I was here. This is a great place to play, from the front office to the clubhouse guys. I haven’t seen a lot of these guys in a long time.”

Before taking batting practice, Dunn was seen having pleasant conversations with principal owner Mark Lerner, general manager Mike Rizzo and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

When Dunn was with Washington, the Nationals were one of the worst teams in basebal, but within two years they became National League East champions.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the team was going to be pretty good in the near future,” Dunn said. “You just didn’t know it was the very, very, very near future. It was a matter of time. The talent speaks for itself. The Nationals had a plan, they stuck with the plan. Everything has worked out pretty much like it should have. That’s a complement to Rizzo with the way he has handled everything.”

Dunn became a free agent after the ’10 season. The Nationals had a three-year offer on the table for months, but Dunn did not accept. He wanted a four-year deal and was able to get one with the White Sox. The Nationals replaced Dunn with Adam LaRoche, who was the Nationals’ MVP last year.

“It wasn’t my choice. I didn’t leave. I had to move on. I think it worked out pretty good for both sides,” Dunn said.

Dunn has a .185 career average with the White Sox. His worst year was .2011, when he hit .159 with just 11 home runs. He declined to say what wrong that year, but he sees a difference between the American League and the National League.

“Pitching is pretty good in the American League, from top to bottom. When you get into the bullpen in the American League, that’s where I see the big difference,” he said.

Game 131: Cardinals at Nationals

Mike Fiammetta here, helping out Bill Ladson on the blog. The Nationals get the Cardinals’ tough right-hander Adam Wainwright tonight, while Gio Gonzalez takes the mound looking for his 17th win. As always, following along on Nationals.com during the game.

Suddenly, all the bad vibes from last week’s road trip are washed away as the Nationals look to push their winning streak to three games on Friday night. Last night’s 8-1 win over the Cardinals was exceptionally satisfying for the Nats, who received a scoreless one-hit, eight-inning gem from Edwin Jackson and multi-hit games from five different batters.

But with tomorrow being the Sept. 1 date for roster expansion to 40 players, much of the pre-game talk addressed the Nats’ roster. Bill will have all the details in the notebook, but manager Davey Johnson said Sandy Leon, John Lannan and Eury Perez are expected to join the team on Saturday. Mark DeRosa (left abdominal strain) is also expected to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow.

-Henry Rodriguez underwent an operation today to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow. Head Team Physician Dr. Wiemi Douoguih performed the surgery in New York, and the Nats are shooting for Rodriguez to be “full-go” at the beginning of spring training.

“Henry has got great upside,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He’s a power pitcher, and if this injury prevented him from performing at his accustomed level, then that’s a good thing because when he gets healthy, he’s going to revert back to the guy that we saw in spring training and the guy we saw in the beginning of the season.”

-Lucas Giolito also went under the knife, but for Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Dr. Louis Yocum performed the surgery in Los Angeles, though Rizzo didn’t elaborate any further.

-Chien-Ming Wang will make one more minor-league start, while Jhonatan Solano will report to the instructional league in Florida to stay in shape in case of an injury at the Major League level.

Bill will have more in the notebook. Here are tonight’s lineups:

Cardinals (71-60)

  1. Jon Jay CF
  2. Carlos Beltran RF
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Allen Craig 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. David Freese 3B
  7. Skip Schumaker 2B
  8. Pete Kozma SS
  9. Adam Wainwright RHP

Nationals (79-51)

  1. Jayson Werth RF
  2. Bryce Harper CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  4. Adam LaRoche 1B
  5. Michael Morse LF
  6. Ian Desmond SS
  7. Danny Espinosa 2B
  8. Kurt Suzuki C
  9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

Game 128: Nationals at Marlins

Adam Berry here in Miami, once again pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Some quick news and notes before the first pitch from Marlins Park…

-GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson set the record straight about their vocal postgame meeting following Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Philadelphia. In short: It wasn’t a big deal, and there are no hard feelings.

Johnson proved that as soon as the two sat down in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park. Rizzo sat beside Johnson during his usual pregame meeting with the media, and Johnson immediately put his boss in a headlock and laughed. This came two days after Johnson was overheard shouting, “You come down and manage the team,” at Rizzo inside his office.

“It’s normal business as usual,” Johnson said.

-The full lineups are below, but you’ll notice Michael Morse and Ian Desmond are both starting. If you missed it after the Nats’ fourth straight loss Sunday, there was some talk about how playing short-handed contributed to their recent offensive struggles. They’ve scored all of six runs during their current losing streak.

“We’ve been down a man or two, mostly a man, most of the year,” Johnson said. “But down two, that’s affecting what you can do.”

-Johnson said to only expect three call-ups on Sept. 1: Mark DeRosa, who will be activated from the disabled list; a third catcher; and someone who can pinch run.

-Speaking of call-ups, Johnson said John Lannan, recently named International League Pitcher of the Week, will make one more start for Triple-A Syracuse on Sept. 3 then join the Nats. Of greater interest, considering all the national attention on Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown, is what Johnson had to say about the timing of Lannan’s promotion.

“I think it’s going to pretty much coincide fairly close with Stephen, when he’s shut down,” Johnson said. “I think the timing, he’s lined up almost the same day, so he may have to miss a start.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Marlins (58-71)
Bryan Petersen LF
Justin Ruggiano CF
Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Lee 1B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Donovan Solano 2B
Rob Brantly C
Ricky Nolasco RHP

Nationals (77-50)
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg RHP

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